No. 200

OSB Logo The Old St Beghian
  January 2022


Alex Riley (G 61-65) responds to two items from the last issue:

“I was saddened to learn that John Jones (M 59-69) had passed away.

Biology was not one of my subjects, so I was never taught by ‘Meeb’ (presumably from ‘amoeba’), as he was universally and affectionately known by all the boys. But he was always around at weekends and keen to get anyone involved in extra-curricular activities. I recall spending numerous weekends collecting woodlice to feed a resident toad (not destined for dissection!). He radiated passion for his subject and I had the impression that he was an excellent teacher.

Anyone who ever got involved in the school play will recall the dedication he put into this annual event. Every play was a great success.

But I have one abiding image of Meeb. Every Tuesday afternoon we would be dragooned into playing at soldiers in the CCF. Some of the staff were officers. I well remember Mr Francis, who actually looked the part and had the title of Major. Then there was Mr Johnson (‘Jonce’) who shuffled about as a 2nd Lieutenant. But I have never seen anyone so ill at ease as Meeb was in his 2nd Lieutenant’s uniform. He just radiated the fervent desire to be anywhere else and in any other kit. I was amused to notice in the ‘Inspection Day’ photograph in July’s Bulletin that neither of our 2nd Lieutenants were part of the inspection ‘team’!

We were extraordinarily fortunate to have such a committed group of teachers. Meeb was one of the best.

I also enjoyed reading John West’s article about Gus Walker.

I remember a helicopter arriving for the CCF inspection. It parked on the sports’ pitch on the other side of the road from ‘The Crease’ – which was in full use for the inspection. I have a vague memory about various cadets standing guard, with rifles, over the helicopter though surely they would not have been issued with live rounds.

The derring-do of these guys is indeed humbling. I’ve reread the section about removing burning incendiary bombs many times.

I recall Gus Walker giving a talk to the whole school, but I’m not sure whether that was part of Inspection Day, or a separate event. What came across very strongly was how thrilled he was to be able to talk to us all. When he got very
excited his arm stump would twitch violently. We were all left with the impression that he was definitely ‘the right stuff’.”



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St Bees School,    St Bees,    Cumbria,    CA27 0DS

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